NORCECA Women’s Pan American Cup
- July 8-14, 2018
- Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
- Pool B: Cuba, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, USA
Cuba carried the momentum from Monday’s five-set win over the United States to a sweep of Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Americans bounced back with a sweep of Group B leader Puerto Rico to claim the title with 11 points.
Cuba def. Trinidad & Tobago 3-0 (25-15, 30-28, 25-19)
Twenty-eight T&T miscues and a slight edge in every other statistical category helped Cuba to its second straight Pan Am Cup win.
The Cubans bested Trinidad & Tobago 36-28 in kills, 9-7 in blocks and 7-6 in aces, while earning seven extra points off errors (28-21).
“We had a bad outing against Puerto Rico but last night the girls found their game against the United States,” Cuban coach Wilfredo Robinson said. “Today they defended well.”
Regla Rainerys Gracia (15), Sulian Matienzo (12) and Dairis Perez (10) paced Cuba with double-digit scoring efforts, while Laura Suarez chipped in nine points. Gracia downed a match-high 13 kills, while Ramos and Matienzo tacked on seven apiece. Matienzo also added a team-best three aces and two blocks, while Suarez put up a team-high three blocks.
Krystle Esdelle turned in 15 points (13 kills, 1 block, 1 ace) to lead Trinidad & Tobago, while Sinead Jack added 12 points (6 kills, 3 blocks, 3 aces).
“I didn’t like the first set,” Trinidad coach Francisco Cruz said. “They were self-pressed by the uniform of Cuba. They played better in the second and third sets with good defense and blocking. I can’t ask for more knowing the conditions they are going through.”
United States def. Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-14)
The United States bounced back from Monday’s loss with a decisive win over Puerto Rico to claim the top spot in Pool B.
The difference in the match came in blocking and serving. The Americans boasted a 12-1 lead at the net and a 9-3 edge from the service line. Both teams accumulated 32 kills and just one point separated the teams in errors (22-21 in favor of the USA).
“We came prepared for Puerto Rico,” USA captain Lauren Carlini said. “I am really proud of my team, who took care of business.”
Simone Lee (14), Sarah Wilhite (13) and Chiaka Ogbogu (10) led the way for Team USA. Lee supplied the bulk of the offense with 13 of the team’s 32 kills, while Wilhite and Ogbogu turned in all-around efforts. Wilhite downed seven kills and posted four blocks and two aces, while Ogbogu managed three putaways, five blocks and two aces. Haleigh Washington chipped in eight points (5 kills, 2 aces, 1 block).
Noami Santos and Pilar Marie Victoria notched eight points apiece to lead Puerto Rico. Victoria managed eight kills, while Santos added seven putaways and was one of three players with an ace to her credit. Ana Sofia Jusino and Shirley Ferrer tacked on six and five points respectively with five kills apiece.
“It was a good match for the first two sets,” Puerto Rican Daly Santana said. “In the third we had problems with the reception.”
The teams were tied at 17-all in Set 1, before the Americans broke away with a 5-1 run en route to the 25-22 win. Six blocks were key for the USA in the stanza. Puerto Rico thwarted to set point tries before a Lee putaway ended it.
In Set 2, the United States turned a 16-15 deficit into an 18-16 lead on the way to a 25-21 victory. An Ogbogu stuff gave the USA the edge and Paige Tapp served up an ace to stretch the margin to three at 21-18. Puerto Rico was within one at 21-20, but Rivers and Wilhite put the Americans on the hill at 24-21. A stuff by Washington closed the door.
Puerto Rico scored the first three points of Set 3, but fell behind due to a 7-0 USA run and never recovered in a 25-14 loss. The Puerto Ricans could not get out of their own way in the stanza and traied by as many as 10 at 21-11, before putting together a 3-0 run. A pair of Ogbogu points and an overpass kill by Lee gave the Americans a match-point try at 24-14. Ogbogu closed out the final 4-0 run and the match.
With the win, Team USA advanced to the Pan Am Cup quarterfinals.